Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Autonomous Cars and Cities


 With autonomous or even semi autonomous cars in 120mph+ pelotons on existing freeways and Musk 120mph skates in tunnels in LA, whole metro areas are sprawlsville.  The American life style will not be changed to urban living.  Ford, General Motors, and all the rest will still be around in 2100 promoting sprawl. 


 Freeways will evolve to narrower lanes restricted to autonomous vehicles, with high speed lanes running in pelotons for efficiency and throughput.  Current freeways of three lanes or more with a breakdown lane in the center can in the near future convert to two or more high speed lanes, one transition lane and leave one wide lane with a breakdown lane for non- autonomous cars at existing speed limits and entrance and exit. Transition lanes would have restricted access and egress and would be separated from the conventional lane by a Jersey Barrier those shaped concrete vehicle diverters used in construction zones.  All that would be required to facilitate this transition would be to improve the roadbed in the high speed and transition lanes.  Autonomous cars exist today capable of 120-150 mph and transit vehicles soon will be once the need for them exists.    

 Autonomous cars can park in high density parking lots on floors limited to small SUVs by floor spacing, served by elevators.  Garages for autonomous vehicles only may be constructed over a major intersection with an existing freeway which is already served by transit and close to developed commercial centers.  The garage may be built over the freeway.  The passenger access floor will have bus clearance for larger vehicles also at high density enabled by autonomous control.  Pedestrian and bicycle access is over the existing sidewalk space on the cross street and transit access over a lane of the cross street.  Cars will enter from freeway access ramps to car lanes inside the garage next to the pedestrian/bikeway. Once passengers exit the car for local transportation and tell the car computer their expected departure time the car will join a cue to an elevator, tandem or more, at the far end of the garage to access parking floors. Exiting cars would use the same elevator with circulation on all floors in the same direction.  Driverless autonomous cabs would be available at the freeway nodes for those needing them. 

 Existing densities are adequate for those choosing urban living. It is an unpopular life style

 The Upper middle class will commute from their tract mansions to suburban commercial campuses, or to the city for work on the high speed freeways, using the existing freeway access and local streets for last few mile access as necessary.  

  Service workers and others with minimum wage employment will commute from now remote suburbs, car or vanpooling as needed where high speed transit is unavailable.  

  Depending on what happens with UBI and "Medicare for All" the workers displaced by robotics and the existing poor will die or move to now dead rural communities.  Assuming UBI and Medicare, the revived rural communities will become vibrant villages of local commerce and art most of which will generate excess funds for local amenities.  

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